Driven Mad

Stating “there is no gain without loss”, Dalrymple outlines the aesthetic drawbacks of cars:

…the traffic jam would make a wonderful setting for a dystopian novel of the J. G. Ballard variety, illustrating the swift deterioration of human conduct, the almost immediate descent to barbarism, under the stress of a perpetual traffic jam. How long would it be before the people in the cars started to loot the shops along the side of the road in search of food, or attack one another in search of a bottle of water? Not very long, I would imagine, not more than a few hours, a day at most, so that the story would illustrate not just the fragility of civilisation but also the thinness of its veneer over the ‘real’ nature of Man. Why extreme situations should be considered more revelatory of our true nature than everyday ones is rather a mystery: perhaps it is to give us scope to descant on our own moral turpitude as a species, which is always a great pleasure.

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